High Performance Diesel Engines
Unusual phone calls from unusual people, or should I say unique people. Bill McCammon from Emporia, Kansas called and was building a hot rod 1972 skinny windshield Peterbilt. The skinny windshield Pete is 8inches lower than a 359 or 379 Peterbilt, thus the name skinny windshield. Bill stated that the US Government ordered Peterbilt to quit building this style of truck because of the visibility out the windshield. I remember Jay Bonanni of Volant, PA drove a skinny windshield Pete with a dropped sun visor, and he had to keep the top of the hood clean to be able to see the reflection of traffic lights. Back to Bill McCammon, he was drafted by the US Army in 1969, got out in 1971, was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability, however it enables the person to see everything in 3 dimensions, and it has nothing to do with intelligence. In fact, I know 3 men with it, and they are masters at what they do. Bill says he can back up a trailer with speed because it appears to him as though he is going forward.
Bill was telling me about his Pete project, and I asked him to send me some pictures. The first thing I noticed was that he has the 2 Vortox air cleaners behind the Big Cam engine, interesting, so he would have had to stretch the frame and move the engine forward, but what about the shifters? This truck has a 5 and a 4 Quadraplex transmission, which means it has 2 sticks, and if the engine is moved forward 20 inches so is the transmission. Bill McCammon is one sharp guy, he got the shifting apparatus out of a mining truck, the deep mine truck that is only 3 feet tall. Now for the hood, Bill built his own hood and made it 20 inches longer than the stock hood. I asked him if he had a machine shop and sheet metal working equipment? No special equipment, just a Lincoln 225 stick welder, 90-degree hand grinder, and a cutting torch. He took an old truck frame, some hinges and made a sheet metal bender. He used parts from two hoods to make one extra-long hood. He also made a separate frame for the cab and bunk and made it a uni-built.
Bill purchased this skinny windshield Pete in 1985 and used it to haul cattle. This truck and the cattle trailer were blown over by 85 mph winds twice, once while he was driving it without cattle, the other time it was parked. He has gone through this truck 3 times, and I think the third time will be a charm.
Along with the Pete, Bill has a 57 Chevy hot rod with a Super Bell 4200-pound straight axle front end. The engine is a 327 Cubic inch Chevy. He purchased this car for $200.00 from his brother years ago, needless to say it was in bad shape. Being Bill is retired and loves to talk about trucks and welcomes phone calls about his projects, his phone number is 620-341-0171 .
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Written by; Bruce Mallinson and Andrew Wilson, Pittsburgh Power Inc., 3600 S. Noah Dr. Saxonburg, Pa. 16056. Phone 724-360-4080. Website: PittsburghPower.com